No system restore, so can I make a new 'live' DVD?
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You could use System Rescue CD and use partimage to create an image of your partition. I'm pretty sure it can even split the image across multiple CD's or DVD's if necessary.
Alternatively, if you haven't done an apt-get autoclean and still have the packages you downloaded in /var/cache/apt, then you could make a DVD repository of all the packages and a list of the packages installed right now.
They are stored as .debs. You could install each individually using dpkg -i package.deb. Or you could build a simple repository for the CD/DVD and then install using aptitude install package.deb in which case it would resolve dependencies for you.
That's brilliant info. I'm sure you've guessed I'm still a newbie big-time.
Yesterday, I downloaded Gnomebaker (a great program) and I'll start backing stuff up to DVD.
Just as a rough guide, what would you say are the most important parts of my filesystem to back up? I want to keep all my documents, of course, so that would be home and var/cache/apt sounds sensible as well.
Is there anything else that is an essential back up? And would it be possible for me to use Puppy Linux (which doesn't seem to care too much about root privileges) to do the hard work if something went wrong with the system?
In other words, could I boot Puppy from USB, roxmount the ubuntu filesystem and overwrite, for example, a corrupt /home directory with my original from CD or DVD?
If so, am I right in thinking that if the worst came to the worst I could reinstall ubuntu and then use Puppy (or Knoppix) to bring things back to where they were?
Thanks, by the way, for your continuing help on this one. I'm totally paranoid about back ups since a nasty Windows crash a couple of years ago.
the first Linux distro with a system restore will be onto a real winner with Windows refugees.
Puppy comes pretty close. It uses a union file system. The file system is really a read-only file system and a read-write file system merged together on the fly. Any changes you make to the file system are stored in your pup_save file. So if you want to back up your entire system, just copy your pup_save file. Restore it any time you want. Also, if you look in /initrd, you'll find the folders that are "unioned" together to form the complete file system. /initrd/pup_rw contains all of the changes you have made to the read only file system. And /initrd/pup_ro2 contains the main read-only file system. So lets say you want to restore /usr/lib/seamonkey (the mozilla web browser) to it's original condition. Just copy /initrd/usr/lib/seamonkey to /usr/lib/seamonkey.
Thanks for that guys. I suppose I was being a bit greedy in wanting something that would put back everything I had from a single live DVD.
Like in Windows I've learned to make data backups regularly because I know that if I ever have a serious crash it's out with the system restore CD or the OS CD for a clean re-install, before I even begin to bring things back to where they were.
I'm slowly finding my way round the filesystem, so I'm learning what parts, apart from my own data files, need backing up.
Take it from me, pljvaldez: there will be no apt-get autoclean until I've got the debs archive safely stored on DVD.
By the way, kirkpuppy, I can guess from your name that you're a Puppy fan. It was one of the first distros I tried and, even though I've settled on ubuntu for my system, Puppy is what I use when I'm trying to convert others to Linux because I can stick in a USB thumb drive on their machine, hack the bios and have a desktop running so quick that they nearly fall over in astonishment.
(Your average Windows user is so easily impressed! Even going into the bios makes them think you're some sort of genius!)
I use Puppy too when I'm away from home as it means I can use any machine that's available (usb boot permitting) and bring whatever I've done back home.
Fair play to Barry. I can't praise him enough for what he's done on such limited resources.
Anyway, thanks again guys. I'm totally indebted to folks like you in linuxquestions who've made it easy for me to make the move from Windows.